In the middle of our Utah travels, I realized that Jack had turned one. I wanted to take a moment to write a blog about that and talk about the impact he has had on our lives. It’s been 7 months now, and things have definitely been different. I would say that I was surprised by how much of an impact he has made. Emotionally our lives feel fuller with a dog. He is a lovely little guy with a great personality and has brought me lots of pure joy. He lifts my spirits, is a great snuggler, and has lots of energy, which has encouraged me to get out and walk more. I also really like taking pictures of him and am already planning on next years calendar being Jack-centric!
He has also required some lifestyle adjustment. We haven’t had to completely turn our lives upside down by any means, but many things we used to take for granted now require some additional thought. Cori and Greg have been great resources for us since we like the way Hobie handles the full time life. Here are some examples of changes we have made.
- Travel Days – Probably the biggest change has been travel days. Complicated already, with the puppy things were initially much worse. He wouldn’t go to the bathroom, he had lots of general anxiety, and riding in the truck was difficult. Thankfully he has acclimated and now manages travel days with barely a pause. We have a car bed that he lays in on top of our center console and Lee removed his tool box from the back so he could build a platform for him like Deb and Steve have for Hurley. He finally is going to the bathroom in some places on travel days, and even goes prior to us getting in the truck now. The worst part for him is probably the hitching process, so I generally take him for a final walk while Lee is doing that so he is away from the noise.
- Day trips – We used to jump in the truck and be gone for hours but now we need to think about how hot it will be, and how long he will be in the car alone. If we decide to leave him alone in the rig we need to make sure it won’t get too hot in the rig and how long can he go without needing to go to the bathroom. From the beginning we have both left him and taken him in the truck and gradually built up the amount of hours in each situation. We also used a crate in the beginning although once I got comfortable I let him have the front of the coach and now we let him have the entire coach. I really think that is the right approach and it paid off when we recently had a training class for our new jobs and unexpectedly were gone for 12 hours. He didn’t pee in the RV and also didn’t appear traumatized which was a good thing, although those 12 hour days should be few and far between.
- Work Days – One of the best parts of working is most of the jobs are pet friendly. We did run into an issue however when we were looking at pipeline jobs because we would have been away from our rig for 12 hours a day every day. Ultimately we decided to not take those jobs and stuck with traditional gate guarding from our rig, but that brought its own challenges. Initially with the truck traffic we were very concerned about Jack slipping out through the door. Over time he became used to the trucks but constant vigilance was always required. In our camphosting jobs we have more flexibility, but we have realized that Jack’s manners are a little lacking. We just signed him up for a 5 week dog training course to help with that.
- Dog Food and Treats – This is kind of a weird one; not every store carries every dog food. Despite picking common brands we actually had to order dog food from Amazon once already, and availability is a big factor in my selection of his adult food. It’s important that his food stays consistent so this is one more thing to worry about. It’s also been tough to feed him on travel days. We have a water carrier for the truck but no great way to feed him, so he usually eats at night. We love our dog dish for travel days but water and food do need removed and then replaced at the beginning and end of each day.
- Sleeping – Another major change for us has been him sleeping with us. This was a conscious choice on our part, and one you certainly don’t have to make. Since our bed is a Queen it’s pretty crowded in the bed, but he has found a spot at the foot, between our feet. Initially he wanted to be higher up, but his furry self was playing havoc with my hot flashes, so this position works better. He has woke us up a few times in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks, but as long as I take him out right before bed it’s not too bad. This is probably Lee’s biggest complaint. He loves snuggling with him but hates being woken up by him in the middle of the night, which is fair. Unfortunately you can’t have one without the other.
Overall, despite the adjustments, I am very happy with the decision. I am particularly happy that we bought a five month old dog, because I really think we skipped the worst of the potty training. Because he is fixed and micro chipped we also have had minimal vet bills and have mostly been doing our own grooming I think Lee would be fine without a dog, but he has been really helpful with walks, training, grooming etc. As I mentioned we are taking advantage of being in the same place all summer to get him some additional training, and I am hoping to take him on some more hikes. He loves being off leash, but I need to be more careful about that since we are in a National forest with large predators. Ultimately I would love a dog that was comfortable on or off leash so will continue to work on both. Best of all he is incredibly happy and photogenic, so to celebrate his birthday I want to share some of my favorite Jack pictures. Seriously, how can you look at that face and not love him? I know that I do!
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